As the sun set on a beautiful Saturday evening, about 75 people milled about the courtyard of the Santa Monica Main Library commenting on a trio of electric cars on display.
The hit innovation was a seat lifter in the Lola EV, which premiered last year at the AltCar Expo. The car looks a bit like a Ferrari/Corvette lovechild, and that makes it very difficult to get into and out of. But ever the creative soul, Paul Pearson created a seat that lifts the driver up and down, allowing for a much easier time getting in and out of the sleek looking electric car, dubbed Lola after his pooch. If he sold this type of seat, there were two people there ready to buy them for their Corvettes!
The pre-release test screening was of the movie, “Govt vs. Green,” the documentary by Andrew Cappelletti about how the city of Santa Monica is continuing to prosecute Paul Pearson for his efforts to advance the world of electric cars with his hobby. The audience was mostly locals who were interested in the politics and the waste of public money by the City Attorney’s Office on such a case.
Anger and incredulity were the two most common reactions, not to the movie, but towards the City Attorney’s Office and a bureaucracy that allows for the continued prosecution of a case where there are no victims. We were asked all types of questions, from the serious, “What is the prosecution thinking?” to the funny, “Now that all Americans are part owners of GM, can’t we all be prosecuted for manufacturing cars?”
This was yet another example of community coming together to support not just one man who was being targeted for prosecution, but the entire production crew who put in long hours for little or no pay. The pervasive feeling that we as a community have to stand up, and proudly shout that we support each other, in what is fast becoming a fight for the life of the planet, could not be missed.
Bumper stickers of “Think Globally, Act Locally” are familiar sights in our city, and it was quite rewarding to be able to participate in something that can locally, help change the world.
Santa Monica is a world leader in eco-awareness thinking, and more importantly, our actions. Our City Council, for all their quirks, flaws and intra-council rivalries, has historically done a wonderful job of bringing us new ideas, and implementing them. Our city government, much as I like to poke it when it deserves a good poking (like over the lack of business license availability for electric car conversions, which the city attorney demands Mr. Pearson get — it’s a catch 22 but I covered that earlier) has also done a great job of incorporating green technology into our city services.
I know this because every weekday morning at 6:10 there is an electric truck produced by Miles Electric that pulls out of the parking lot at Virginia Avenue Park as it begins its duties for the day. That electric truck was marketed by Miles Electric, and they are a Santa Monica-based company. The truck, however, was not built in Santa Monica, it should have been, but until we change our public policy towards manufacturing, and licensing, and regulating, we’ll be limiting our revenue streams. The city makes money off the sale of electric vehicles, but they could be making more if they were to be proactive in their pursuit of this new industry.
The city is testing electric vehicles in various configurations and there is a growing need for more of our public fleet of automobiles to be converted to electric. Throughout the country there is an increased desire on the part of municipalities to convert to electric vehicles. If the city of Santa Monica wants to be able to continue to lead and to convert more of our polluting vehicles to clean technology, we will need men like Paul Pearson to be championed, not crucified.
The fact is that sooner or later, conversions will be the answer, the question is whether or not they will be done here, and we employ people in our city, or will they be made somewhere else, while we have to shut down necessary services?
David Pisarra is a family law attorney focusing on father’s rights and men’s Issues in the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969.